Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fauxsage and Potato Soup

All recipes are adapted from the Healthy Calendar.

This entry is important for two reasons!

First, this dish was the best soup I've ever had!

Second, this entry marks ENTRY 100 in my blog! Woooooo, happy anniversary to me!!

I reiterate, this soup was the best soup I've ever had! It's like a "meat-and-potatoes" kinda meal in a bowl. Also, it's simple and very friendly on the dishes, which I like. It only has a cup of milk in the whole batch, making it the perfect 'half-creamy' soup, where it's not quite a broth soup and it's not quite a cream soup! My favorite kind!

Fauxsage and Potato Soup
cooking spray
4pack of fauxsage (or your preferred sausage) links, sliced
1 1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrot
2 T. all purpose flour
3 14.5 oz cans of veggie broth
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 t. dried sage
1/2 t. dried pepper
1 bay leaf
1 C. fat-free milk

1. Coat a large soup pot with cooking spray. Cook fauxsage for 2 minutes. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook another 5-7 minutes or until beginning to brown.

2. Add flour, stirring well. Cook for 2 minutes. Add broth, potatoes, sage, pepper, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, scraping brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are done (about 20 minutes).

3. Add milk and simmer 2 more minutes; do not boil. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jerk Chik'n & Garlic and Herb-Mashed Parsnips

All recipes are adapted from the Healthy Calendar.

This meal was an interesting experiment. It was my first time trying soy "chik'n" and my first time eating parsnips.

Actually, the chik'n itself wasn't bad, but I hated the sauce. I didn't even like Jamaican cuisine when I was in Jamaica, so I don't know why I went through with my bastardized version. It just was not worth all the ingredients and hassle, though I did have most of the spices.

Parsnips, like any root vegetable, are a healthier alternative to white potatoes; however, they tasted too floral for me.

Well, you'll be happy to know the asparagus I tacked on was awesome!

Jerk Chik'n

2 t. olive oil
2 T. shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
2 T. lime juice
2 T. lite soy sauce
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. dry mustard
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
cooking spray
16 oz. of chik'n or boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent. Add habanero and saute one more minute.

2. Add the remaining ingredients except cooking spray and chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Place mixture in processor/blender (or use immersion blender) and puree until smooth.

3. Coat a medium glass or metal baking dish with spray. Place chicken in dish. Pour sauce over the chicken. Bake for 30 minutes or until done. At this point I'd like to note that I did not follow instructions. If you can tell by the picture, my chicken was pre-cut into strips, and you're supposed to keep the chicken breasts intact.

While you're waiting for the jerk chicken, you can make the parsnips!

Garlic and Herb-Mashed Parsnips

8 medium parsnips, peeled and cubed
4 whole(SRSLY) garlic cloves, peeled
3 T. fat-free milk
1 t. parsley
1 t. tarragon
salt + pepper

1. Fill a large saucepan 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. Add parsnips and garlic cloves. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until parsnips are soft. Drain.

2. In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and, with your preferred device, beat until pureed.

So, this recipe taught me a lesson. The lesson being: If you don't like chicken very much to begin with, meatless chicken is not going to be a good idea...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Salsa Meat Loaf & Smashed Potatoes

All recipes are adapted from the Healthy Calendar.

So, my cat is fine, and while I'm thrilled at that, I'm livid with the vet for sending us* all into an (expensive) panic when he could have started out just giving the cat the medicine that ended up helping him.

*To clarify, us = me, my mom, my grandma. He's my cat, but I had him since I was 11 and obviously lived with my mom still. Due to some circumstances throughout my life, including now, he's lived with my grandma and currently does. So basically, he has three mothers, and we all were present at the vet all week.

I'm not going to name the practice, but everyone in my family has always raved about how he's "such a good doctor". Well, he may be knowledgeable and skilled, but he has absolutely no people skills, and he's completely raked us across the coals. At least if he was going to pull the wool over our eyes, do it the right way, and not the sending-me-into-a-crying-fit-convinced-my-cat-is-dying way. Schmoozing goes a long way.

I may have to try other vets. I'm sick of getting lectured and feeling like a shithead for having an obese cat every time I take him in, because my obese cat eats the same or LESS than every other "normal" cat I've seen. One good thing is that at least now that we have had all these expensive tests, I can throw it in everyone's face that my 'morbidly obese' cat is healthy as a Clydesdale, and likely healthier than their skinny cat. It's not like I'm funneling Fancy Feast down his throat to make some sort of cat foie gras. Even the animal specialist (who is extremely awesome, and I wish she was around all the time) admitted to having a cat weighing three pounds more than mine, and even SHE couldn't figure out a healthy solution. Okay, I'm done cat-ranting.


There may be a more beautiful way to display meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but I sure haven't found it. This meal was a first of many for me. This was my first time making meatloaf, and it was my first time experimenting with ground TVP (textured vegetable protein). Yes, this meatloaf is really a soyloaf, but you can't tell by looking!

Salsa Meat Loaf

Cooking spray
1 pound lean ground turkey, beef, chicken, pork, or TVP
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 finely diced onion
1 minced garlic clove (or equivalent pre-minced)
3/4 cup salsa, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray a small loaf pan (5x9ish). In a large mixing bowl, combine your preferred ground mystery meat, egg, crumbs, onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup salsa. Mix thoroughly! It's probably best to use your hands.

2. Place mixture in loaf pan and spread evenly. Top with the leftover salsa, and bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on your oven.

While you're waiting for the loaf to bake, it's time to make the

Smashed Potatoes

1 pound red new potatoes, washed and quartered, KEEP SKINS ON!
4 garlic cloves, peeled (use real cloves here)
1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half, heated
salt + pepper

1. Add potatoes and garlic cloves to a large soup pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Drain and return to pot.

2. Add remaining ingredients, and using a masher or sturdy whisk, smash potatoes and garlic until blended but still lumpy.

The potatoes were completely amazing, especially since I can't make mashed potatoes very often. Skin-on mashed potatoes are the best, and the extra fiber from the skins is the best way to rationalize any redeeming nutritional value. For the record, white potatoes are perfectly fine for a normal person, but in my house, I have to rationalize the extreme glycemic spike of potatoes with fiber!

The meatloaf had an off taste, but I attribute it to the salsa, and not the TVP. The actual TVP tasted almost identical to ground beef. Salsa is a nice idea, but it can't compete with the "ketchup crust" I grew accustomed to in my childhood.